No. 18 Auburn Tigers (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. No. 13 LSU Tigers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday September 19th, 3:30PM EST
Where: Tiger Stadium Baton Rouge, L.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: AUB +7/LSU -7
Over/Under Total: TBA
The Auburn Tigers survived one of the near biggest upsets in college football history last week with their 27-20 win over Jacksonville State. If it were not for a botched 17 yard punt with under two minutes to go, it could have been easily argued that Auburn would have never had the time to score a late touchdown to force overtime. Instead the ball bounced Auburns way and they avoided a nearly disastrous defeat. Even with the win, Auburn has now posted two straight ugly performances plummeting from 6th in the rankings all the way down to 18th despite a 2-0 start. This week we see if Auburn has been holding back or if they are just simply not as good as expected when they travel into Baton Rouge for a date with the no. 13 LSU Tigers.
The Tigers kicked off their 2015 campaign last week with a 21-19 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville in what turned out to be a thrilling game. The Tigers looked to be in control as they held a 21-6 lead going into the 4th quarter. Instead, the Bulldogs rallied around Dak Prescott to score two 4th quarter touchdowns. Luckily LSU was able to stop a two point conversion attempt on the last touchdown and then got a little more luck as Mississippi State kicker Devon Bell missed a 52 yard game winning field goal as time expired. While it does not sound overly impressive, any time you can escape with a win on the road in the SEC West it is a cause for celebration.
LSU now looks to keep their momentum going this week in a home stand against the Tigers from the Plains in Baton Rouge. For LSU fans, they have plenty of reason to be excited after last Saturdays close victory. Running back Leonard Fournette surpassed his freshmen hype and set the mark as one of the best backs in the country in last weekends victory. Fournette accounted for all 3 of the Tigers touchdowns while rushing for 159 yards on 28 carries. Not only did the sophomore look vastly improved from a year ago, but he looked absolutely dominate at times averaging nearly 6 yards per touch against a very sound Mississippi State defense.
Coach Les Miles loves to run the football and typically relies on his defense to win football games. Fournette looks to be a tailback that is the perfect match for Miles offense. He is a work horse that is going to get better as games progress into the 2nd half. Considering the fact that Auburn has given up almost 200 yards per game on the ground through their first two contests, LSUs power running attack could have another big day if they control the trenches to allow Fournette more opportunities to make big plays
I believe the Auburn is going to have their hands full stopping the run. The question is will they have the firepower to answer back on offense? Gus Malzahns offense has been able to move the fooball but they have not shown that quick striking explosiveness they have had in previous years. A large part of that may fall on quarterback Jeremy Johnson who has already tossed 5 interceptions through the first two games which is enough reason to close up the playbook. Johnson is more of a pure drop back passer which is a little different than Malzahns zone read quarterbacks of the past.
The question now has become is Johnson the right quarterback for this system? Regardless, he is their best option going forward and we are going to get to see exactly what kind of team Auburn has this week when they go to play at one of the toughest places in America in Baton Rouge. Auburn does have a reliable rushing threat in tailback Peyton Barber that should be able to make some runs and keep the chains moving. Still in order for Auburn to win this game or even cover the spread, the play at the quarterback position and the play of the entire defense has to make some big improvement.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think LSUs running game will set the pace early in this game and Auburn has to play from behind. Auburn will make a few plays to hang around until the Baton Rouge Tigers pull away late. Take LSU -7
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